Treat your mind, body, and emotions.
What is Acupuncture?
Traditional Chinese Medicine is founded on an ancient philosophy that portrays the universe and the body in terms of two opposing forces: yin and yang. When these two components are balanced there is good health. Chi, or “qi”, is the Chinese word for subtle life energy which flows uninterrupted through the healthy body and flows through energy channels, called meridians.
This continuous flow of energy maintains the balance of yin and yang, but when this flow is blocked it can lead to pain, lack of function or disease.
These energy flows can be disrupted in many ways and this is where poor health can originate. In addition to poor health habits (eating, sleeping, exercise, etc.), physical and emotional traumas can also disrupt the flow of energy through the body. Acupuncturists will examine the root causes of the conditions before choosing the most appropriate path to better health. By treating each condition and patient as an individual case it is easier to achieve success in maintaining good health.
I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.
- Jimmy Dean
The Acupuncture Treatment
By taking a full medical history and studying the presenting symptoms, an acupuncturist will examine the abdomen, tongue, and pulses on bilateral wrists and then formulate a suitable plan of treatment.
The acupuncturist will use needles, and occasional moxibustion and cupping therapies, to manipulate acupuncture points, to activate the body into healing itself. When suffering from stress, the body switches into “fight or flight” mode and adjusts its energy consumption for fast-moving and thinking. Stress is the plague of modern society and acupuncture can work to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which counteracts the stress response through homeostasis.
Moxibustion is a traditional treatment that has been used in Mongolia, India, and China, and involves warming up “cold” conditions by burning Moxa, which is an extract of the ‘Mugwort’ plant. It can be applied directly on the skin or on the end of a needle and is a deeply relaxing agent used to improve the flow of blood and qi to the area being treated. It is commonly used to provide relief to the discomfort of muscular aches, backaches, menstruation pains, and others.
Cupping is a treatment that uses small sterilized cups positioned at various key locations on the body to create a vacuum. This increases the flow of blood to the location and can be used to promote healing in a specific location. Cupping is often used to relieve tension in the back, shoulders or neck and is also effective at expelling colds, ridding the body of toxins and soothing general painful conditions.
Does Acupuncture Treatment Hurt?
The first thing many people are concerned about is getting pricked and prodded with needles and the discomfort that might involve. This is reasonable, but it is important to remember that the hair-like implements an acupuncturist uses are not your average knitting needle.
Acupuncture needles, like those applied in my work, are of the highest-quality and finest-breadth. Most of my patients never even feel the insertion any more than a slight scratch and a modest electrical sensation. Actually, the vast majority of acupuncture patients I have worked with mention how relaxing and soothing the entire process is.
This feeling of health and wellness lingers after the treatment has concluded and sometimes for days following treatment. As time passes and the feelings of well-being become more established as good health becomes a foundational component of life rather than the occasional “high”.
What Can I Expect from My First Visit to an Acupuncturist?
Your first visit will involve a physical examination, full consultation, and treatment, which can take up to an hour and a half so make sure you allow plenty of time. I will ask you about your symptoms as well as your general health and lifestyle habits to provide a broader scope on the conditions that produce this set of symptoms.
This information is vital to understanding the underlying causes of the condition and formulating a suitable plan for treating these conditions at the roots.
During this consultation, the pulse will also be observed, and the body examined through gentle palpation. The pulse is more important to acupuncture than you may see in western medicine and will be taken from both wrists at various times during the examination to measure the effects and progress of treatment.
After the consultation, a plan for further treatments will be formulated based on my findings. Follow up visits will usually be 45mins to an hour in length.
How Many Treatments are Necessary?
Conditions are very different and there is no general answer that applies to all. Furthermore, a single condition can require different treatments depending on the person, their history of health, the severity of the condition and many more factors.
Everyone will respond differently to the treatments they receive, even if the treatments are identical. For some people, the reactions can be almost immediate, and others may take longer for their treatment to take effect.
Weekly treatments are generally advised to start, with a reduction in frequency as symptoms improve. Conditions can be felt to improve after a few treatments, but occasionally more are needed for more chronic conditions.